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7 Better Turkey Burger Recipes


Ground turkey is a staple in my kitchen. I buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer. My favorite use for this versatile item is turkey burgers. It’s fun to experiment with items in my fridge, cupboard, or farm box, aiming for half of the ingredients to be vegetables and whole grains. This creates a complete nutritional meal for my kids that also affords them choice of toppings and condiments. My personal favorite is to enjoy the patty on top of leafy greens with honey mustard dressing. Instead of consuming that full-fat 500 calorie beef burger, opt for one of these juicy turkey burger recipes. Here are a few of the best turkey burger recipes from SparkRecipes members.
Posted 6/11/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 44 comments   162,139 views
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Fajitas The Healthy Way!


Fajitas are one of those foods that you hear and smell before you see, especially when you order them at a restaurant. The onions and peppers sizzle amongst strips of meat, their intoxicating smells travel through the restaurant, and finally a skillet overflowing with food is presented to you, along with a platter of beans, rice, a stack of flour tortillas and all the trimmings.
 
Fajitas come from the Spanish word "faja," which means sash, skirt--or girdle. It referred to the type of meat originally used in the dish, skirt steak. When most of us eat fajitas as served, we'll likely need a girdle to get into our pants!
 
The fajita platter at a popular fast-casual chain has 850 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 2,440 milligrams of sodium (more than a day's worth!). Wow.
 
At its most basic, a fajita is grilled meat wrapped in a tortilla. The vegetables are a welcome addition, but most restaurants douse them in oil and salt. 
Posted 5/21/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 28 comments   155,206 views
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14 Healthy and Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes


Using a slow cooker is like magic: pour in the ingredients, set the heat level, and then shift focus to your to do list, all the while your slow cooker does the heavy lifting. Chicken is one of my favorite ingredients to use in a slow cooker, since it’s a flavorful source of lean protein and it requires little effort to cook. These are some of SparkPeople’s favorite slow cooker chicken recipes.

 

Slow Cooker Marinara Chicken and Vegetables (Chef Meg's Makeover)


Posted 5/16/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 27 comments   924,149 views
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10 Super Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipes


Are you looking for new ways to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and add more healthy ingredients to your recipes? Stuffed Bell Peppers are a fun way just to do that. A large size bell pepper has about 50 calories and is loaded with folate, magnesium, copper, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. Use peppers in place of high calorie wraps that have very little nutritional value. For an added bonus, stuff your peppers nutritional storehouses like beans, lentils, whole grains, finely chopped veggies and lean meats. Top it off with a puréed vegetable sauce for added flavor. Keep yourself healthy with these 10 super stuffed pepper recipes. 
Posted 3/7/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 18 comments   230,966 views
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7 Slow Cooker Pork Recipes


Due to the popularity of Slow Cooker Chicken, I'd like to follow up now with pork, which is another slow cooker favorite. Pork is a staple in our house, especially when we're having a large group of dinner guests. It's a budget-friendly choice that becomes tender and juicy when cooked slowly. Whether you're tired of everything tasting like chicken, or you just need a change of pace, add these slow cooker pork recipes to your meal plan today. 
Posted 2/15/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 10 comments   30,937 views
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Better-For-You Southern Comfort Recipes


Down home Southern cooking has produced some of our finest classic American dishes. At the same time, many of these original recipes include unwanted fats, calories and sodium. With some simple changes, we can enjoy this quintessential comfort cuisine and still stay on-track with our health goals. 
Posted 2/1/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 13 comments   84,227 views
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7 Easy Baked Pasta Dishes


Pasta is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t have to be hard to cook or unhealthy. Baked pasta is my go to meal when I need to prepare something ahead of time for dinner. With these simple modifications I've been able to take high-fat, high-calorie dishes and replaced them with highly nutritious ingredients. 
  • Use only half the amount of cheese.
  • Replace high-fat protein with lean protein.
  • Replace half the pasta with vegetables.
  • Try pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa flour for a gluten-free option. 
  • Use non-fat milk and Greek yogurt for a cream based sauce. 
These recipes are simple to prepare and taste great. Steam some broccoli or prepare a green salad and you have a well balanced meal that your family will love. 
Posted 12/18/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 2 comments   45,957 views
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7 Quick and Easy Salmon Recipes


When I was in high school, my parents made a big lifestyle change that included improved diet and exercise. One of our staples when eating out became salmon. Many years later, it's still my favorite fish, but now I enjoy it at home around our family dinner table too. The best thing about salmon is that you don't have to be a professional chef or require expensive ingredients. This fish is simple to prepare, cooks fast, and has high levels of omega-3 fats and protein, but is relatively low in calories. I prefer fresh wild salmon, but you can opt for farmed or canned salmon also. Whether you already love salmon, or if you're ready to try something new, try these simple and healthy recipes to acquaint yourself with this amazing fish. 
Posted 11/27/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 15 comments   49,147 views
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7 Super Soups


As the weather turns cold, heat up your meal planning with cozy soup recipes.  Soup doesn't need to be boring, plain or unsubstantial. Add ingredients like beans, lean proteins and whole grains to turn it into a complete nutritious meal. Avoid high sodium broths. Instead use spices and seasonings to add flavor. Double the recipe and use the left over's for tomorrow's lunch or freeze it to enjoy another night. Curl up with a cup of soup this week by using these recipes and resources. 
Posted 11/16/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 15 comments   16,459 views
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The Secret to Perfect (Faux) Frying


You might not find discussions of pan frying or deep fat frying in most cookbooks geared to healthy cooking for obvious reasons. I guess that means that if we want to live a healthy lifestyle we will no  longer enjoy the golden breading color on pieces of cooked Dover sole or the crunch we hear when we bite into a chicken leg coated in a crispy breading. Guess again! If you've said goodbye to those crispy cooked foods--say hello again!  Faux frying creates a lighter version of the pan- or deep-fried foods that we all crave.  It's simple, quick, and easy.  Best of all, your home (and your hair) won't smell of a deep fat fryer for days after the meal. 
Posted 10/15/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 23 comments   30,861 views
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6 New Uses for Roasted Peppers


Roasted peppers are perfect for rounding out a dish, enjoying as a snack, or even using as a food wrapper!
 
Whom should we thank for such a versatile vegetable that adds so much smoky sweet flavor to an endless amount of dishes?  Some would say Mother Nature and others a cook... I'm going with both.  The earth provides us with the vegetable, but it's the roasting technique that gives it that subtle smoky flavor.
 
First, let's learn how to make them, and then we can talk about the many ways to use them.
 
While red peppers are the most common, you can roast orange or yellow ones, too. The roasting mellows their flavor and adds a smoky sweetness.
Posted 8/13/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 13 comments   12,259 views
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Lighten Up Pasta with Garden-Fresh Zucchini


Pasta may be too heavy for a hot summer night, but you can lighten it up by substituting or swapping it out with vegetables.
 
Zucchini pasta is super easy to prepare and perfect for anyone who is gluten-intolerant, diabetic, low carbing it, a raw food lover, or those like me that are up to their ears in zucchini from the garden.  Zucchini pasta is nothing more than raw zucchini that has been cut to mimic traditional pasta: fettuccine, linguine, and yes even lasagna. 
Posted 8/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 24 comments   38,805 views
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Save Time & Money: 15 Ways to Use Leftover Chicken


"Always cook extra" is a standard practice in the Galvin kitchen.  You never know when 3 extra teenage boys will arrive just as dinner is served or the coaches will schedule a make-up game at the last minute. Whether I have extra mouths to feed or suddenly no time to make dinner, I lean on leftovers--especially big batches of basic cooked chicken (and turkey).

It's helpful and easy to place a couple of extra chicken breasts on the grill, in the slow cooker, or in the oven.  The same holds true for a turkey breast in the smoker or oven.  Both lean proteins can be transformed into something new and special, days or even months down the road if you freeze the extras. 
 
Your premade cooked chicken will be much cheaper than the rotisserie bird you'll pick up at the checkout line, and because you are cooking it alongside another meal no extra cooking time will be involved. If you're heating up the oven (especially in summertime), you might as well fill it up! 
Posted 7/23/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 10 comments   17,914 views
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7 of Our Favorite 15-Minute Meals


Even on your busiest nights, you always have time for a home-cooked meal--as long as you plan ahead for such occasions.

Here are a week's worth of meals that are ready in less time than it would take to round up the family's fast-food order and drive through for burgers and fries. Some of these meals are so simple they don't require a recipe and allow you to customize them based on what's in your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Posted 6/29/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 10 comments   35,946 views
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The Secret to Healthier Cream Sauces


Sauces can make or break a dish, both in taste and in nutrition. Take the classic cream sauce, for example. Delicious, yes. Healthy, no way! The ingredients are usually white flour, butter, and heavy cream, with some whole milk added for good measure.
 
Thankfully, we can improve on the classics to make them a welcome addition to the healthy kitchen.
 
Let's edit the name ever so slightly. Rather than a cream sauce, we're creating a creamy sauce.
 
Rather than heavy cream, start with flavorful liquids that have little to no salt, such as homemade stock.

I often make a quick stock by pouring boiling water over dried mushrooms, which serves two purposes: the steeping liquid becomes the stock, and the mushrooms add texture to the sauce. When combined with a roux, that flour-and-fat combo that is cooked to create a thickener, the thin stock yields a velvety sauce the plenty of "mouth feel"--no cream needed.
 
Thankfully, you can re-create a "creamy" taste and texture with foods that are low in fat and calories. Swap heavy cream and whole milk for skim milk, unsweetened soy or almond milk, silken tofu, nonfat Greek yogurt, or (my favorite) evaporated 2% milk, which is what I used to trim the fat in Chef Meg's Light Alfredo Pasta with Veggies.  The end result is a creamy dish that's light enough for summer, which is great because it pairs so well with all those garden-fresh vegetables!
Posted 6/25/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 14 comments   31,427 views
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